Shaky Manor Review

Shaky Manor (Blue Orange Games)

Peeling paint, boarded windows, and an unsettling darkness at all times of day, there are plenty of legends about the old manor house on the edge of town. But for every cautionary tale of shifting boards and spooky specters, there’s another of immeasurable treasure that has amassed over the years. Collecting your courage, it’s time to steady yourself and venture in for wealth and glory with Shaky Manor.

A simple to learn and play dexterity game, there are two games in Shaky Manor. The first is set up with players placing all objects (meeple, ghosts, eyes, spiders, snakes, and treasure chests) into their boxes. With the room side of the Challenge Cards deck facing up, at the start of each round a player turns over the top card, revealing the objects side, and places it next to the deck with a newly exposed room card on top. Players then race to get the objects (and only the objects) pictured from the flipped card into the room depicted on the top of the deck. First player to do so, wins the flipped object Challenge Card. The first player to five Challenge Cards wins the game.

The second game is set up with players placing only their meeple, a ghost and the three treasure chests into their boxes. The Challenge Cards deck is placed with the objects side facing up and at the start of each round a player flips a card to reveal a colored room. Players then race to get their meeple and treasure chests (and only those objects) into the colored room. First player to do so, wins the Challenge Card but has an additional object – a ghost, eye, spider or snake – added to their box, making it harder for future Challenge Cards. The first player to five Challenge Cards wins the game.

For all it’s simplicity, Shaky Manor is an addictingly fun and fast game. Playing the version that adds more objects into the box with each victory also adds a nice balancing mechanism of keeping skilled players from jumping too far into the lead – in addition to lots of fun discussions about what’s the most challenging object with the rolling eye, blocking snake, and clingy plastic spider. Whether it’s with kids or just with some adults looking for some light-hearted fun, Shaky Manor is a real treasure.